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A Clockwork Orange Essay: A Movie Analysis

1724 words - 7 pages

A Clockwork Orange A Movie Analysis   

  In 1962, Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange was published for the first time. This novel was an anti-utopian fable about the near future, where teenage gangs habitually terrorize the inhabitants of a shabby metropolis. The novel deals with the main focus that man is a sinner but not sufficiently a sinner to deserve the calamities that are heaped upon him. It is a comic novel about a man's tragic lot. (Bergonzi 152).

     In 1971, Stanley Kubrick turned Burgess' novel into a 136 minute, color motion picture produced by Warner Brothers. The movie starred Malcolm McDowell as the young gangster guilty of rape and murder. Kubrick was both writer and director.

     Stanley Kubrick was born July 26, 1928 in the Bronx, New York. He is an accomplished director with other ground breaking movies under his belt, such as The Shining, Paths of Glory, and 2001 A Space Odyssey. His films have one common theme- the dehumanization of mankind. He is also known for his symmetric image composition and long "zooming out" and/or "zooming in" sequences. Kubrick constructs three-way conflicts and utilizes the techinique of extreme close-ups of intensely emotional faces. An interesting note is that Kubrick often uses the number 114 in his movies. In Clockwork Orange, Alex is given "Serum 114" when he undergoes Ludovico treatment. (Internet Movie Database 1) Some critics claim that it is due to the brilliance of Kubrick that Clockwork Orange was so successful. In his book The Science Fiction and Fantasy Handbook, Alan Frank writes, "Had the movie been the work of a lesser film maker, it is unlikely that it would have had the reception it received; as it is, [Kubrick's] brutalization of Burgess' book has been taken for art rather then for its very strong exploitative elements which savour of a gloating admiration for the very violence it professes to deprecate."

     Kubrick's "perceptive dark satire about the future" (Cineman Syndicate 1) follows the same basic outline as Burgess' novel. The only difference is that due to time constraints, the film leaves out a few minor scenes of the droogs (Burgess' term for ruffians) committing acts of violence. The film is divided into three parts, as is the novel. The first part is the description of Alex's exploits in "ultraviolence." He and his fellow gang members (droogs) spend their time committing a series of rapes, robberies, and assaults, usually aimed at completely defenseless people. The attacks are pathological and random. The second part of the film is filled with a different sort of brutality. Alex is in prison, but still continues his violent ways. The authorities preach obedience, but Alex and the other inmates respond by attacking one another. Alex is sentenced to a new form of psychological treatment that transforms him into a parody of the perfect Christian. He behaves morally and follows the values that were forced upon him by the State. He has no...

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